The process of longlining is a highly skilled art form that requires a dedicated and, experienced crew.
Over a period of 24 hours, six five-kilometre longlines with a total of 30,000 hooks will be deployed from the Kawatea
Each longline spans 5km, consisting of 5,000 baited hooks. The first step in the process is to drop a buoy and flag pole which is used as a visual reference, followed by an anchor.
Once the first anchor and buoy have been deployed, the crew begin baiting and setting the 5,000 hooks on the one longline. This requires immense focus to ensure the 5km longline does not get tangled during setting. The full 30,000 hooks takes around seven hours of continuous focused work by the crew and skipper to set.
During this time, the Kawatea’s state-of-the-art bird protection system ensures birds do not become accidentally tangled in the lines that are being set. The system consists of a laser, which shines out the stern of the vessel, and a simple Tori line system which detracts birds from swooping and potentially becoming tangled in the longline.
Once each line is deployed, a final anchor and buoy are placed overboard which completes a single longline set.
This line will then be left for up to 12 hours, while another line is deployed in a second location.
The Kawatea will then return to the initial line site to catch the first buoy and haul the anchor. This begins the process of bringing the line and hooks back on board.
All fish is immediately processed, frozen and stored on board as soon as it is caught.